Karen Underwood

I moved to the Cooperative as director in the summer of 2012. This followed serving eighteen years as a high school principal and ten years as a teacher. After graduating from Montana State University, my career began in 1984 as an English teacher (grades 5-12) and a librarian (grades K-12) in the central part of Montana in Roy. Then I joined the Laurel High School staff where I taught English, history, and library media skills for seven years. During this time I completed my Masters of Education in Educational Leadership. I moved to the highline in 1993 where I was the principal at Cut Bank High School for twelve years. During this time I attended the University of Montana adding additional endorsements to my educational certification. I returned to Laurel in 2005 as the high school principal.

I have always been committed to educating the whole student and have focused on providing students with strong academic, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities. As I look at the responsibilities I now hold, I am ever more committed to these priorities as each of our students deserves the very best foundation for the lives they have ahead.

As the mother of two young adults who have benefitted from Montana public education, I have additional vantage points which I trust enhance my abilities to serve the staff, families, and students within the cooperative.

Over my career, I have been gifted to work with a number of talented and accomplished individuals. As I approach each day, I am reminded of a favorite quotation shared with me by one of my early mentors. It still inspires me: 

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

---Ralph Waldo Emerson


Feel free to reach me through the Cooperative Office at 839-2339.